SUPERVISING FOR SAFETY IN WOODWORKING SUPERVISORS - A VITAL LINK ARE YOU A GOOD SUPERVISOR?

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1 SUPERVISING FOR SAFETY IN WOODWORKING SUPERVISORS - A VITAL LINK ARE YOU A GOOD SUPERVISOR?

2 A report by THE HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE WOODWORKING NATIONAL INTEREST GROUP 14 CARDIFF ROAD LUTON LU1 1PP TEL:

3 SUPERVISING FOR SAFETY As an employee you have a legal duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of yourself and others. As a supervisor you have a legal duty to co-operate with your employer in providing necessary supervision for health and safety. Your job is not limited to producing a good quality product. Supervisors are a vital link in the chain for effective management of health and safety. Supervisors are often expected to be management s eyes and ears on the shop floor, but HSE investigations in the woodworking industry have shown that supervisors are often unaware of the full range of responsibilities they have as part of the management team. Your manager must ensure that you know your responsibilities and carry them out. Does the buck stop with the supervisor? Good supervisors lead by example; they get good results and develop a motivated, safety conscious workforce. You are paid to supervise - and this includes supervising for safety. NO BUT and you should seek to avoid that for the sake of everyone's safety you are a vital link S U P E R V ISO R S - A VITA L LINK This booklet is designed to help you identify your responsibilities for providing a safe and healthy workplace.

4 DO THESE COMMENTS SOUND FAMILIAR? These are actual quotes from people interviewed during HSE investigations. I COULD NOT BE BOTHERED TO USE A JIG - IT TAKES UP TIME A 57-year-old with 40 years experience severely lacerated his hand on a spindle moulder. HOW WILL I EVER GET A GIRL- FRIEND NOW? An 18-year-old apprentice had a finger amputated while working unsupervised on a tenoner. I WAS ONLY TRYING TO HELP OUT WHAT THE SUPERVISORS SAID No-one told me I was responsible for health and safety I wouldn t insult his intelligence by asking why the guards were not properly adjusted I just make sure we produce a good quality cupboard Does the company have a Health and Safety Policy? I have not seen one He said he was a skilled machinist - I leave guarding and all that to him Walking through another department where he had no responsibility, a 53- year-old tried to solve a problem on a multicutter moulder with which he was not familiar. His hand was badly injured. THERE ARE SOME RULES UP IN THE CANTEEN - I THINK He was trying to remove a jammed workpiece without isolating the machine. A 44-year-old untrained operator severed the top of his thumb on an unguarded dimension saw.

5 WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY? Where do you think each person has particular responsibilities - you may tick more than one box. WHOSE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY IS IT TO ENSURE THAT: OPERATOR SUPERVISOR MANAGER People are properly supervised for safety at all times? People work and behave safely at all times? People are properly trained? People are obeying company health and safety rules? Everyone is aware of the hazards in the workplace? Machinery is properly guarded when used? Machines and equipment are inspected to ensure they are safe to use? People are using the correct safety appliances properly, eg jigs and pushsticks? People are not unnecessarily exposed to hazardous substances? People are using the correct personal protective equipment? The working area is kept clean, clear and tidy? Everyone knows what to do in an emergency? Action is taken following accidents and near misses? How did you do? Turn the page to find out...

6 WHOSE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY IS IT TO ENSURE THAT: People are properly supervised for safety at all times? People work and behave safely at all times? People are properly trained? People are obeying company health and safety rules? Everyone is aware of the hazards in the workplace? Machinery is properly guarded when used? Machines and equipment are inspected to ensure they are safe to use? People are using the correct safety appliances properly, eg jigs and pushsticks? People are not unnecessarily exposed to hazardous substances? People are using the correct personal protective equipment? The working area is kept clean, clear and tidy? Everyone knows what to do in an emergency? Action is taken following accidents and near misses? OPERATOR SUPERVISOR MANAGER SURPRISED? So were many other supervisors we spoke to... Read on to recognise the most common and important examples where you have key responsibilities in the chain of control and can make a vital contribution.

7 MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE IS THE RIGHT PERSON USING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT? Are your workers properly instructed? Are your machinists trained and authorised? What choices do you have? Is the person you have chosen to do the job sufficiently confident, reliable, experienced etc to do it safely, or are you putting square pegs into round holes? Do you know what machine or equipment is best (safest) for the job? How do you decide how much direct supervision you need to give to ensure safety? DID YOU MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE?

8 A SAFE WORKPLACE IS YOUR SHOP/DEPARTMENT A SAFE PLACE IN WHICH TO WORK? Do you stop your workers skylarking? Where is eating and drinking permitted in the workplace? How do you ensure that the workplace is kept clean and tidy? How do you ensure that your workers wear suitable (safe) working clothes? Who keeps the gangways and working places clear? Does the system work? What do you do to identify the hazards to your workers in your workshop? DO YOU KNOW WHAT GOES ON WHEN YOUR BACK IS TURNED?

9 MOVING AND STORING GOODS HOW SAFE IS YOUR SYSTEM FOR TRANSPORT AND HANDLING? What can be stored, how and where? Who is allowed to drive the lift truck and other lifting machinery and why? Are there any designated traffic or pedestrian routes in your workshop or department? Do you ensure that they are kept clear? Do you and your workers know the correct lifting techniques for manual handling? Do you ensure that any handling aid that is provided is properly used? What would you do if you saw someone riding on the forks of a lift truck? Would you report them? How safe are your stacks of timber or boards? How high can they be? THE VAST MAJORITY OF FATAL ACCIDENTS IN WOOD- WORKING INVOLVE POOR HANDLING OR STACKING

10 A HEALTHY W IS THE HEALTH OF YOUR Do you know what substances are used in your workshop? Do you and your workers know the risks from working with hazardous substances? Do you stop dry sweeping and the use of air lines to clean up dust? When is it necessary to wear respiratory protective equipment and how do you ensure that it is worn? Is dust extraction equipment provided? If so, is it used and properly positioned? What steps have already been taken to control exposure to hazardous substances? What should be your contribution? PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE

11 ORKPLACE WORKERS PUT AT RISK? How noisy is your workshop? Where in your workshop is it necessary to wear ear defenders and how do you ensure that they are worn? What steps have already been taken to reduce noise levels and what further steps are planned? Are noise enclosures properly maintained and used? What is the significance of reducing the noise levels at source by 3 db? Are you and your workers aware of the risks from noise? CAN YOU HEAR YOURSELF THINK?

12 FIRE SAFETY HOW DO YOU STOP FIRES STARTING AND PREVENT THEM FROM SPREADING? Are flammable liquids used in your workshop and if so how much is allowed to be stored there? HIGHLY FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS What would you do if you saw evidence of cigarette smoking in the area where flammable liquids are stored or used? What system do you maintain to prevent accumulation of sawdust, woodwaste and offcuts in your workplace? Does this system work? Where are the fire extinguishers and do you know how to use them? Can you and your workers get to all the exits and then to a safe place without hindrance? What do you do to ensure that lids are put back onto cans of flammable liquids when they are not in use? Do you and your workers know what to do in the event of fire? When was the last fire drill? YOU CAN STOP THE PLACE GOING UP IN FLAMES

13 SAFE MACHINES HOW WELL GUARDED ARE THE MACHINES IN YOUR SHOP? Would you challenge an experienced wood machinist for not using cutter guards or safety devices? What do you mean by safe working practices and how do you ensure that they are adopted? What safety devices are provided in your workshop and are they always used as necessary? Do you stop a machine if it is in use without cutter guards? What about trial cutting? Do your workers report defects in the machine or safety devices to you and what do you do about it? Who sets up the machines and are you certain that the correct safety procedures are followed? Do you periodically inspect the machines and guards to ensure that they are properly maintained? How often do you have to tell your machinists to properly adjust the guards? Do you have to tell them more than once in a day or shift? THE WOODWORKING INDUSTRY HAS THE WORST MACHINERY ACCIDENT RATE

14 BE HONEST Are you as safety conscious as you thought you were? So where do you go from here? Find out what your health and safety responsibilities are and their limits. How do these link with the responsibilities of operators and managers? Your job description and the company health and safety policy should help you do this. LOOK Identify the hazards in your workplace IDENTIFY Write down your own action plan, take it to management and get it endorsed You cannot supervise effectively for health and safety unless you have been properly trained. Once you are sure what your health and safety responsibilities are, you will be able to supervise confidently. People working for you, regardless of their age or experience, will know that you are doing your job well and helping them to do theirs safely. ACT To put things right and supervise for safety REMEMBER You are a vital link in providing a safe workplace and you are expected to supervise for safety, as well as for quality and quantity of output. You need management support This booklet should have given you a few tips for raising standards and improving the links in health and safety management in your workplace. to help you to do this.

15 FURTHER READING Essentials of health and safety at work (Third edition) HSE Books 1994 ISBN X Safe use of work equipment. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L22 HSE Books 1998 ISBN Safe use of woodworking machinery. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 as applied to woodworking machinery. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L114 HSE Books 1998 ISBN Health and safety priorities for the woodworking industry WIS34 HSE Books 1997 HSE priced and free publications are available by mail order from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA Tel: Fax: Website: (HSE priced publications are also available from bookshops.) For information about health and safety ring HSE's InfoLine Tel: Fax: or write to HSE Information Services, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG. You can also visit HSE s website: This leaflet contains notes on good practice which are not compulsory but which you may find helpful in considering what you need to do. S U P E R V ISO R S - A VITA L LINK REMEMBER: You are a vital link in providing a safe workplace and you are expected to supervise for safety, as well as for quality and quantity of output. You need management support to help you to do this. As a vital link you have the opportunity to put your ideas into practice.

16 This publication may be freely reproduced, except for advertising, endorsement or sale purposes. First published 10/94. Please acknowledge the source as HSE. TOP 06 Reprinted 4/02 C30

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